FINAL: VCU 76, Cleveland State 75 (Richmond, Va. – Verizon Wireless Arena)
RECORDS: VCU (8-1), Cleveland State (4-5)
VCU STARTERS: #22 Williams, #24 Parks, #34 Robinson, #44 Calhoun, #45 Thorpe
CLEVELAND STATE STARTERS: #1 Gordon, #4 Aideyman, #15 Coleman, #21 Green, #40 Schmitt
- Freshman Isis Thorpe scored with 6.6 seconds remaining to hand VCU a 76-75 victory over visiting Cleveland State Sunday afternoon at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
- Senior Robyn Parks paced three Rams in double-figure scoring with a season-high 29 points, while Thorpe added 15 and senior Zakia Williams chipped in 10.
- Freshman Keira Robinson, who dished out a career-best 12 assists, set up the game-winning bucket on an out of bounds play with eight seconds left when she found Thorpe, who drove to the block and converted a layup with 6.6 second to go. The Rams then held off Cleveland State's final push as Cori Coleman's layup missed as time expired.
- The Rams, who are off to their best start in six years, improve to 8-1 for the first time since 2007-08, and just the third time in the program's 40-year existence.
- VCU pushed its unbeaten streak to seven games, its longest since reeling off eight straight in 2009-10. The school record is nine, which occurred in 1994-95.
- VCU remains just one of just two Atlantic 10 teams with one loss on the season (Saint Joseph's).
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Parks scored seven straight and nine of VCU's first 11 points, and pushed the Rams' lead to 11-5 on a layup at the 15:16 mark.
- Cleveland State responded with a 10-2 run spanning more than three minutes and regained the lead, 15-13, on a jumper by Imani Gordon with 11:46 showing.
- VCU caught fire from outside as Thorpe drained a pair of triples and sophomore Jessica Pellechio, who made her first appearance since suffering an injury on Nov. 21, added another from long range, and the Rams scored 13 straight to claim a 26-15 advantage with 7:27 left in the first half.
- Trailing by 12 with 6:20 to go, Cleveland State used an 11-0 run, including a four-point play by Khayla Livingston at the five-minute mark, to pull within 29-28 with 4:44 remaining.
- VCU pushed its lead to seven twice the remainder of the half, and took a 39-32 lead into the locker room.
- After Thorpe gave the Rams a 52-41 advantage with 15 minutes to play, the Vikings scratched back and eventually regained the lead, 62-61, with 9:16 showing. Neither team led by more than four points the remainder the game.
- Trailing 74-70 with 1:55 left, Haley Schmitt knocked down a 3-pointer from the right corner and Coleman converted a pair of free throws to give Cleveland State a 75-74 lead with 18 seconds left.
- After a missed shot last touched by the Vikings with eight seconds to go, Robinson found Thorpe from the baseline, who scored the game-winning basket with 6.6 seconds on the clock.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE:
- VCU, which leads the A-10 in turnovers forced, caused 21 Cleveland State miscues. It was the seventh time in nine games this season the Black & Gold forced 20-plus turnovers.
- The Rams, who lead the league and rank 16th nationally in steals, collected 14 against the Vikings, which marked their sixth double-digit steals effort this year.
- Robinson's 12 assists were the most by a VCU player in three years. She also had six points, four rebounds and a game-high four steals.
- Parks, who has scored in double-figures in 37 straight contests, posted her sixth 20-point game of the year to go along with nine rebounds and three steals.
- Freshman Camille Calhoun hauled in a career-high 11 rebounds, including eight on the offensive end.
WHAT'S AHEAD: VCU continues its three-game home stand on Wednesday, Dec. 18 against Manhattan at 11 a.m. The Rams then welcome Florida A&M to the Verizon Wireless Arena on Dec. 22 at 1 p.m.